In the cross is our salvation
September 14, 2018
Triumph of the Cross
2nd Reading: Phil 2:6-11
Gospel: John 3:13-17
Jesus said to Nicodemus, “No one has ever gone up to heaven except the one who came from heaven, the Son of Man.
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
“Yes, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world; instead, through him the world is to be saved.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
The bronze serpent that Moses lifted up on a pole in the desert summarized the peoples’ afflictions during their sojourn in the desert. Moses’ instruction to look upon the hoisted image of the serpent also served as instruction to reflect upon their experience of crisis, how they have contributed to their woes, and how the afflictions “forced” them to call upon Yahweh. All those who did were healed.
The same desert experience of the Jews can serve as framework of our reflection on our own crisis, specifically our struggle with the environment. As Moses hoisted the symbol of the peoples’ afflictions, Mother Nature herself is hoisting before us the symbol of our irresponsibility in the calamities that afflict us. These calamities serve as Mother Nature’s invitation to reflect upon how we have provoked her. But with prayerful reflection these can become, like the bronze serpent which Moses raised for all inflicted people to behold, lessons to guide us in reconfiguring our lives to be the true stewards that God had intended us to be. Such prayerful reflection leads to the crafting of firm resolutions. Only then can God bring healing to our land.
Crisis comes closer to home when we talk about the impact of climate change on health issues. We are afflicted by so many illnesses that multiply faster than the amazing advancement of medical science. With prayerful reflection, however, these become rich resources for spiritual growth. Oh what meaning a bed-ridden patient can derive from his confinement if after a life of loose morals sickness leads him to prayerful reflection and moves him to repentance! With prayerful reflection, the physical pain that sickness inflicts even purges a person of all attachments to sin. If we approach life this way, our crosses become sources of salvation.
So the next time crisis appears as overwhelming as Moses’ towering bronze serpent, let us reflect in prayer so we can lift Jesus up and proclaim him as the meaning of it all. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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